GALLOWAY - Democrat Robert "Bob" Andrzejczak (D-1st) holds a double-digit lead over Republican Mike Testa in New Jersey’s 1st Legislative District Senate race, although the Democrats’ lead is much smaller in the state Assembly election, according to a Stockton University Poll of likely voters released Oct. 24.
According to a release from Stockton University, Andrzejczak, who assumed former Sen. Jeff Van Drew’s seat in January after Van Drew was elected to Congress, is ahead of Testa 53% to 39%, representing a 14-point lead with 8% undecided or not expressing a choice.
Andrzejczak is viewed favorably by 40% of voters compared to 17% who view him unfavorably. He was the most well-known of the legislative field, with 37% unfamiliar with him.
43% of voters remain unfamiliar with Testa, whose favorable rating is 35% compared to 19% unfavorable.
Democratic State Assembly candidates Bruce Land and Matthew Milam are also leading their Republican opponents, Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan, but the race appears much closer.
Land tops the field with 27%, followed by Milam with 26%. McClellan and Simonsen both received 22% in the poll.
The Assembly candidates, including the incumbents, remain largely unknown.
Land, with the most name recognition, was unfamiliar to 57%, while 62% were unfamiliar with his running mate, Milan. The numbers were even higher for the Assembly GOP challengers, with Simonsen unfamiliar to 68% and McClellan unfamiliar to 69%.
The Stockton Polling Institute of the Hughes Center at Stockton University interviewed 500 adult residents of the 1st District who were screened as likely voters. Interviewers working from the Stockton campus called landline and cell telephones Oct 15-21, 2019. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points.
“With state legislative elections the top race on the ballot this year, turnout is expected by many to be low, which tends to favor the slightly better-known incumbents,” stated John Froonjian, interim executive director of the Hughes Center. “The Democrats have almost twice as much in campaign funding available heading into the final weeks of the campaign, given them another potential advantage.”
However, Froonjian noted the lead in the Assembly race is within the poll’s margin of error.
Taxes in general (13%) and property taxes (10%) ranked among the most important issues to voters in the 1st District this year.
Immigration issues, which have been debated in the campaign, were ranked most important by 6%. However, when asked directly about immigration, 84% saw it as extremely important (52%) or somewhat important (32t). A bare majority of 51 % oppose state efforts to prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal officials to enforce U.S. immigration law.
Thirty-one % rate Gov. Phil Murphy’s job performance as excellent or good, with 40%
“Those numbers illustrate why the Democratic incumbents have tried to establish some distance from the governor, and why the challengers have tried to tie them to Governor Murphy,” Froonjian stated.
However, 55 % said it was extremely or somewhat important for state legislators to be of the same party as the governor to help get things accomplished.
Only 41% were satisfied with efforts by state officials to create jobs in the 1st District.
President Donald Trump’s job performance, at 38% excellent or good, is better than the governor’s, although 50% rate it as poor.
The district is split over the impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House, with 47% in support and 48% opposed. 52% said their feelings about Trump will not affect their vote in the legislative election, while 47% said they will.
As in the rest of the nation, there is a strong partisan divide regarding Trump. 86% of Republicans oppose the impeachment inquiry, and 85 % of Democrats support it. 54% of district independents oppose it. Only 35% of Republicans and 41% of independents said their feelings about Trump will affect their 1st District votes, but 62% would affect their vote.
The poll of adult residents of New Jersey’s 1st Legislative District was conducted by the Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University. The telephone survey was conducted Oct. 15-21, 2019. Live interviewers who are mostly Stockton University students called cell phones and landlines from the Stockton University campus.
Overall, 47% of interviews were conducted on cell phones and 53% on landline phones. A total of 500 respondents screened as registered and likely voters, or registered and already having voted by mail, were interviewed.
Likely voter screening was based on self-reported likelihood to vote on a scale of 1-10 or having already voted, knowledge of poll locations and those of age having voted in the 2017 gubernatorial and legislative election.
Both cell and landline phone sample randomly selected from voter lists was provided by Aristotle.
Data were weighted based on U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey data for New Jersey’s 1st Legislative District on variables of age, ethnicity, education level, sex and region.
The poll's margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points at a 95% confidence level for statewide results. MOE is higher for subsets.
The following is from Testa Campaign Manager Brittany O'Neill:
"With all due respect to the folks at Stockton, their poll ignores both the Republican registration advantage in the 1st Legislative District and the even more favorable Republican turnout advantage in recent years.
Specifically, the Stockton Poll would have you believe that Democrats will have a 6-point turnout advantage on Election Day, when in 2017 Republicans in this district had 7-point advantage, and even had a 6-point advantage in the 2018 "blue wave" election. The Stockton Poll also predicts that Unaffiliated voters will turnout at a higher rate than Republicans, which has never, ever happened. It would be the first time in history.
Despite the million dollar smear campaign funded by Camden Party Bosses and far-left special interests, Mike Testa has the momentum and we expect to win on November 5th. After we do, we'll graciously accept an apology from the good people at Stockton."